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Archive for the ‘Demographics’ Category

Screenshot: The Casey Foundation website

 

For some children, opportunity is part of life in America. But for millions of immigrant children and children of color, life in America is full of obstacles and threats.

That’s the finding of a new report — “2017 Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children.” Released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report “explores the intersection of children, opportunity, race and immigration.”

The report notes that many immigrant children live in low-income and poor families whose median income “is 20 percent less than U.S.-born families.” Specifically:

• more than half of children in immigrant families are low income

• one in four children (4.5 million) are poor, and

• children of immigrants account for 30 percent of all low-income children in the United States, even though they only make up 24 percent of the country’s 74 million children

For children of color, a daunting challenge is living with dizzying layers of disadvantages in “communities where unemployment and crime are higher; schools are poorer; access to capital, fresh produce, transit and health care is more limited; exposure to environmental toxins is greater; and family supports and services are fewer.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

In Massachusetts, too many family live in “child care deserts” — communities where the demand for child care is far greater than the supply of high-quality spots.

“Despite the more than 8,000 licensed child care providers across the state, Massachusetts, like so many other areas across the country, is facing a child care crisis,” the national nonprofit Child Care Aware noted last year in its inaugural report, “Child Care Deserts: Developing Solutions to Child Care Supply and Demand.”

“… we found that these deserts are especially prevalent in low-income communities, rural communities, among families of color, and among families with irregular or nontraditional work schedules.”

Now, Child Care Aware is providing an interactive look at child care deserts in Massachusetts through a new “story map.”

Story maps are a unique advocacy tool because they bring data to life. The maps are created by an app that let users combine maps, narrative text, images, and multimedia content. Story maps can be used to create everything from annual reports and virtual tours of college campuses to the history of a city’s public art to a crowd-sourced map of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

To create a child care story map for Massachusetts, Child Care Aware looked at three issues: (more…)

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Screenshot: The Ounce’s website

 

Like most states, Massachusetts has limited data on its birth-to-5 early education and care system, making it difficult for us to answer basic questions such as “Where are all the 4-year-olds?”

Elliot Regenstein wants to change that. He’s the plain-spoken author of “An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems,” which was just released by The Ounce, a national nonprofit that advocates for children.

“This is not one of those policy papers that earnestly describes how the world is supposed to be—this guide is a zealous exploration of how the world actually is,” Regenstein, the director of policy and advocacy at The Ounce, writes.

The unofficial guide is one of a series of “policy conversations” that The Ounce is sharing to “rethink education.” The policy conversations cover “innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”

How can data help this effort?  (more…)

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Screenshot: Urban Institute website

 

Where are preschool-age children?

The Urban Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is providing answers with its new interactive data map — a great tool for advocates.

“Our interactive tool shows 10 important characteristics of 3- to 5-year-olds. It displays the characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are low income, or whether their parents are immigrants,” the institute says on its website.

“Understanding the characteristics of preschool-age children in our states and communities is an important first step for supporting children’s healthy development and school readiness.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

If we build it, they will come.

That was the attitude in Springfield, Mass., when the city received a federal preschool expansion grant to fund 196 new slots.

Only it turned out that finding children to fill those slots was much harder than expected.

An article in the Atlantic – “Where Are All the Preschoolers?” — tells the story of how tough it can be to find children because there isn’t enough solid data.

“Sally Fuller, the project director of Reading Success by 4th Grade at the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation… estimates half of Springfield’s preschool-aged children are not enrolled in programs, and she admits that number could be off by as much as 10 percentage points—which speaks to a major barrier in preschool-expansion efforts. Communities largely don’t have a handle on the exact size of the population they’re trying to serve,” the article says.

Also featured is our own Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign.  (more…)

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“When you think of America’s western mountain states, what comes to mind? Wide, open spaces? Majestic peaks? Infinite blue skies? Pervasive lack of investment in pre-K?”

“Five states—Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, and Wyoming—still do not provide any state funding towards pre-K. And all but one of the five are in the mountainous west.”

“This region’s failure to act on pre-K may be accounted for by a combination of the following factors:

• Political and cultural values that put an emphasis on libertarian ideals of government

• Low percentage of children in single-parent households

• Low poverty rates

• Low population density

“While none of these factors alone can explain these states’ lack of investment in pre-K, taken together, they may help to describe the unique environment that exists there—one that lends itself to inaction when it comes to pre-K.”

“One Part of the Country Still Doesn’t Invest in Pre-K. Here’s Why.” By David Loewenberg, New America Weekly, October 20, 2016

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Average cost of child care across the states. Screenshot: New America's website

Average cost of child care across the states. Image: New America’s website

What’s the state of child care in today’s America, which is no longer the land of the “Leave it to Beaver” breadwinner-homemaker family?

To find out, the newly released Care Report and the accompanying Care Index look at all 50 states and the district of Columbia to assess three categories: cost, quality, and availability.

The bad news: “no single state does well in all three categories. Instead, families, providers, and policymakers in every state make difficult compromises that often shape family decisions and can determine the course of children’s futures.”

That’s a problem in today’s America where “in a majority of families with children under 18, all parents work for pay outside the home. That means, on any given day, about 12 million children under the age of five will need a safe place to go and someone loving to care for them.”

The report and the index were produced by the think tank New America and by Care.com, the website that links families to care providers, in conjunction with other organizations. (more…)

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